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First Off the Field: 8/14

Posted Aug 14, 2013

The latest headlines as the Jaguars conclude Wednesday's training camp practice.

JACKSONVILLE – Maurice Jones-Drew could play Saturday.

The status of players such as wide receiver Cecil Shorts III and offensive tackle Luke Joeckel sounded less certain Wednesday afternoon as Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said decisions on starting lineups, playing time and quarterback rotation likely will be made Wednesday evening.

Bradley said he did know this as of Wednesday:

The team would like to see Jones-Drew, a three-time Pro Bowl running back, play on Saturday against the New York Jets in the second preseason game.

“We’ll see how the next couple of days go, but we would like to get him some playing time,” Bradley said after the Jaguars’ two-and-a-half-hour, full-padded practice in 90 degree temperatures at the Florida Blue practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field.

“How much will be decided in our meeting (Wednesday). I feel a lot better about him this week than last week as far as getting him some reps.”

Shorts III (calf) and Joeckel (hip flexor) each missed practice Wednesday, with Shorts having missed the preseason opener Friday and Joeckel not having practiced since that game.

Bradley said Shorts and Joeckel remained “day to day.”

Bradley said he was pleased with practice Wednesday, saying that special teams set the tone for the day and that the defense continued the recent trend of strong performances.

“They’re competing their tails off,” Bradley said. “You can see it starting to come together. That generally happens a little bit quicker with the defense than the offense.”

Bradley also said the offense had a strong day – this after the unit appeared to struggle with consistency in practice Monday and Tuesday.

“They competed and refocused and rededicated themselves to the real, fine details,” Bradley said. “They came out and it was great to see. It’s really good to see.”

Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne continued to split repetitions between the first- and-second-team offense, and Bradley said the two quarterbacks played well Wednesday.

“I felt the difference,” Bradley said. “It was a charge. I think it goes back, too, that the routes look crisper. It was a deal (Tuesday) where we just had some sloppiness across the board.”

Bradley said a decision on who starts at quarterback against the Jets will be made Wednesday evening.

Guard Uche Nwaneri, offensive tackle Eugene Monroe and defensive end Tyson Alualu all had veterans days off.

Linebacker Andy Studebaker practiced for the first time after being signed Tuesday.

The Jaguars are scheduled to hold a walkthrough at the Florida Blue practice fields Wednesday afternoon. They will practice again at 9:55 a.m. Thursday.

 

INJURY WATCH

Running back Justin Forsett (toe) missed practice for a second consecutive day after returning to practice Monday. Cornerback Jeremy Harris (back) remained out, as did defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick (groin). Tight end Isaiah Stanback (quadriceps) missed practice, as did linebacker Russell Allen (ankle).

 

PLAY OF THE DAY

Wednesday wasn’t a day for highlights, but a couple of plays stood out.

One was a long pass from Gabbert to reserve wide receiver Toney Clemons, who got behind rookie cornerback Demetrius McCray for a long touchdown midway through practice. Gabbert, who earlier in practice missed wide receiver Mike Brown open in the end zone on a deep pass, hit Clemons with a perfect, tight spiral for a long gain.

Later in practice, rookie free agent quarterback Matt Scott rolled left and threw a pass into the front corner of the end zone for a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeremy Ebert into double coverage that included rookie safety Ray Polk.

 

PHOTO GALLERY

HIGHLIGHTS

1. Tight end Marcedes Lewis caught four passes on Wednesday despite taking limited repetitions. It was supposed to be Lewis’ day off, but he practiced with the coaches limiting his repetitions, Bradley said. “There were a couple of plays we had in that we really needed to see,” Bradley said.

2. Jones-Drew continued to look stronger this week, turning in two strong runs early in team period midway through practice.

3. Gabbert turned in two nice intermediate passes to Lewis in team drills.

4. Scott had two nice deep passes in team drills, with rookie Jamal Miles dropping one on the right side of the field and catching the other over his back shoulder on the left side.

 

QUOTABLE

1. Bradley on linebacker LaRoy Reynolds: “We like what we see him, and we want to give him an opportunity to compete there (strong-side linebacker). We’ll see tonight how many reps he’ll get.””

2. Bradley on the offense: “Through adversity there’s an opportunity for tremendous growth. I was really excited to see that they took advantage of this day and captured it.”

 

LOOKING ON . . .

*If the Jaguars should be pleased with one area as camp draws to a close, it might be offensive line. The unit had been under scrutiny in the offseason after struggling in pass protection last season. Also, without Jones-Drew much of the season, the Jaguars’ run game struggled for the first time in recent memory. With the addition of Joeckel, the line looked better against Miami in the preseason opener. And with  Joeckel’s injury not thought serious, the line appears healthier than last training camp, when guard Will Rackley was lost for the season three days into camp.

*Scott continued to get a lot of work recently in practice. The rookie free agent led one series in 11-on-11 Wednesday on which he took 10 snaps with the third-team offense. That’s one of the longest stretches for any quarterback in team drills this training camp. The Jaguars want to take a look at Scott as a reserve option or practice-squad player, and they also want to make sure the third-team offense is ready to function Saturday against the New York Jets. Reserve veteran Matt Kafka also got extended work with the third team in team drills Wednesday.

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